Critical reflections are more than just what you’ve noticed, or what you remember from the program. They are more than ‘what went well/did not go well?’

Being critical means critiquing your role as the educator and making a plan to improve your practice (because we are all continually learning and improving). This could include questioning:

  • The environment (how you set up the activities)
  • Your intentional teaching methods
  • The way you interacted with the children.
  • Your preparation, organization, teamwork etc.
  • Your knowledge of the children’s interests and skill level

The below examples highlight the difference between an observation, evaluation, and critical reflection.

Observation: What did you notice?

“The puzzles were not very popular this week. Children did not seem interested.”

Evaluation: What did you notice, and WHY was it significant?

“The puzzles were not very popular this week. Children did not seem interested because they were too challenging.”

Critical Reflection:  What did you notice, why was it significant and HOW will you address this/improve your practice?

“The puzzles were not very popular this week. Children did not seem interested because they were too challenging. Educators will ensure there are a variety of puzzles available to suit a range of abilities.”

OR

“The puzzles were not very popular this week. Children did not seem interested because they were too challenging. Now that we have identified a need, educators will work with children on developing puzzle solving skills.”

You can see how a good critical reflection should shape your practice in both your plans and interactions with children. Observations are an important part of reflecting, but it is the way you choose to use your observation moving forward that will make it a true critical reflection.

Author:  Alyce Picone